I ran across this Hot Network Question about Dune, and why the Dune universe folks don't use guns. As someone who never read the books, and has seen the Lynch movie (which also apparently never read the books), as well as Dune Part 1, I found the answer to be very useful. The dynamics at play there from the book didn't translate well into the movies.

The question is +15/-8 as of this writing. This comment under the question has 22 upvotes (now removed)

Downvoted because you haven't read the books, watched the movie, or done any minimal googling first.

Wow, that's a lot of work just to ask a basic question here. Moreover, it seems to fly in the face of numerous Meta discussions like this

Originally, we closed such questions as "General Reference", but we had a problem where we could never totally agree on what constituted "General Reference". Almost any question can be answered via Google in just one search of the correct keywords. Closing every question that could be "easily" Googled would close more questions than we wanted.

I should note Movies.SE has the same question, without the community rejection.

This site has been a go-to for me in asking less-than-common knowledge about the books. Punishing simple, but answerable questions doesn't make any sense here. As noted elsewhere, some of the best SFF questions could have been answered by reading the book or Googling, yet they got excellent answers that lots of people found helpful. Why set the bar so high?

  • 15
    I don't think the bar here is set especially high. Searching for the words 'guns' and 'dune' gives me nine sites out of the top ten that directly answer the question asked.
    – Valorum
    Mar 11 at 16:39
  • 19
    It think by 'read the books, watched the movie, or done any minimal googling first.' the commenter meant that they'd done none of these things rather than that they should have done all three.
    – Valorum
    Mar 11 at 16:41
  • 5
    I'm not sold on the idea that SFF should be the last resort for people. Even simple questions can be interesting. It's obvious because the answer exists elsewhere? So what? I say bring the content here!
    – Möoz
    Mar 13 at 22:42
  • 8
    @Möoz - Sure, but we also shouldn't be the first stop for every question.
    – Valorum
    Mar 13 at 23:58
  • I have mixed feelings about that question. Generally speaking, I would agree that a "minimum amount of research"™ is expected before asking a question, whilst also accepting questions where some search might have answered it if the question is still interesting™. In this case, even though I don't know Dune at all (never watched, never read), I still knew about the shield because I had stumbled upon the linked question beforehand. To be fair, I don't know, I'm very mitigated with this one.
    – Clockwork
    Mar 14 at 8:17
  • 1
    Asking a question on SE uses a fair chunk of time from a community of experts (reading, editing, tagging, moderating, commenting, answering, discussing in Meta, etc), which is a scarce resource. Asking the same question to a search engine uses way less of some way more abundant resources (electricity, network bandwidth) and in such cases as the discussed question delivers the same answer a lot quicker.
    – zovits
    Mar 14 at 9:08
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    @zovits I don't really buy into the argument of "wasting experts' time" that you seem to basically bring up here. We are all here out of our own volition and the majority of what we do when answering questions is summarize stuff from elsewhere around the web (not rarely found by good ole google). Fine, Googling might be easier and faster and maybe the question isn't of much worth itself (though, I think in this case it is). But if we wouldn't want to waste our time with questions here, we wouldn't be here and if you don't wish to engage the question, then don't. Questions aren't a burden.
    – TARS
    Mar 15 at 14:20
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    I'm not able to understand what you mean by "punishing" questions. Do you mean punishing askers of the questions? Rep is just meaningless internet points - getting downvotes does not constitute anything like "punishment" as far as I can tell. The whole point of SE is to evaluate and rate content. We're supposed to be downvoting content that we don't think is of high quality. (Note: I personally upvoted the question, but I will defend the right of SE users to downvote any content they feel should be downvoted). Mar 16 at 6:46
  • 1
    @ToddWilcox - Absolutely. And if someone tried to close it, I'd make a sterling effort to reverse that decision. Downvoting, on the other hand, is merely a reflection of people's interest levels.
    – Valorum
    Mar 16 at 9:56
  • Great question. Honestly, I feel like this question might be better on the Meta SE, because I see a lot of questions that could be easily answered with a minimal web search, but that are still popular on a multitude of the SE sites.
    – Daemons
    Mar 18 at 23:36
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    There's no real punishment here. The question was heavily downvoted, which is anyone's prerogative to do without being questioned (as opposed to policy, i.e. deleting/closing, etc). I tend to downvote questions I deem lazy and it's my right to do so (also: I downvote every "first of <thing>" question on sight, sue me!).
    – Andres F.
    Mar 20 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


The tool-tip for downvoting states that people can (nay, should) downvote when they feel that

"This question does not show any research effort;"

Given that Googling the question title would have immediately led them to a range of perfectly acceptable answers, a downvote would seem well merited.

OP has clearly put zero effort into researching their own question before posting.

Note also that (in line with the accepted policy) nobody is trying to close this question, they are merely downvoting it, which is their absolute prerogative.

  • 3
    I am Happy you found my answer about Dune useful @Machavity When I was a teenager I reread the first three books many times, the world described therein was so rich. Mar 12 at 14:44

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